My kids are in Grades 1 and 2 and when they're on the iPad, I mostly worry about how much time they're spending playing games and watching YouTube sports highlights. There's already debate among parents about how much screen time is too much, and it's easy to feel embarrassed if your rules around technology aren't the same as your peers.
But soon enough, our kids will be a little older and we'll have new pressures and dilemmas when it comes to creating rules around technology. For instance, what happens when kids want an email address and a Facebook account? Even though apps like Snapchat are supposed to be restricted to kids age 13 and up, it's tough to say "no" to your pre-teen when all their friends are already on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. You don't want your child to be the only one who isn't allowed on social media, but are they really old enough to use it properly? Every family has different rules, and there is definitely pressure to conform to what everyone else is doing.
How do you know if you're being too strict or perhaps not strict enough? How do you create rules around social media when no two parents necessarily agree on what's right?
Experts offer a few tips to help guide parents through the decision-making process:
Don't judge other parents. We are all just trying to do what's right for our families. Even if our values are different from those of others.
Have confidence in your rules. Don't second guess yourself or change your belief system just because other parents have different rules. You have to do what's right for you without feeling guilty about it.
Go online and explore what all the fuss is about. See what their friends are posting to make sure your kids want social media accounts for the right reasons. Maybe you're more comfortable with email, but you want to wait until your child is a little older before they can have a Facebook account. The more research you do, the better you'll feel about your decisions.
Talk to your kids openly about social media and how it's supposed to be used. Listen to their thoughts and explain your expectations. You might even tell them you will be checking in on their social media use to ensure they are being responsible.
When did you let your kids on social media? What are your rules?